Posted on 25 July 2012 by Keith Lacey
Another big summer storm has resulted in another downtown business and property owner exasperated and upset, insisting flooding problems have only become worse following almost nine months of construction to upgrade the area around 85 Street and 74 Avenue in downtown Osoyoos.
After more than 25 millimetres of rain fell in two hours Friday evening, Brent Ross, who along with his wife owns the 85 Street Boutique and a small house beside that business located at the intersection of 85 Street and 74 Avenue, spent hours trying to clean up the mess.
He insists flooding problems in his yard separating the business and property are “far worse” since contractors completed construction to upgrade 85 Street several weeks ago.
He’s also extremely upset new high-powered pumps installed recently as part of the upgrades in this area of town once again did not work properly after they were fired up during and after Friday’s major storm, only to fail once again.
“Things are just getting worse,” said Ross. “We used to get flooding in the yard, but it was never this bad and now we’re starting to get flooding in the basement, which also didn’t happen until this construction was finished.
“This is the third time in less than three weeks and I’m getting tired of it. We lived with torn up streets for nine months for what? The situation is way worse than it ever has been.”
Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells said flooding concerns in the area have become such a problem council has called a special meeting for Thursday to speak with contractors involved in recent upgrades in this area to find out why flooding continues and pumps that were installed months ago aren’t working properly.
“As of this (Monday) morning, an engineering firm was looking at the whole situation,” said Wells. “We have to get all our equipment up and operating and that will be our top priority.
“All I will say is I guarantee it will be rectified as quickly as possible. We’re looking at this as something is wrong and it will be fixed.”
Ross said he’s considering taking legal action if the flooding problems aren’t solved soon.
“I don’t want to get lawyers involved, but I might have to unless someone starts listening,” said Ross. “If I could dig up a trench across the road, I would, but obviously the town owns those roads, so I don’t have many options.
“I’m not the kind of person who would normally ever consider getting a lawyer or pursuing legal action, but it’s something I am going to have to consider unless people start listening and fixing this. I can take care of my own property and I knew water gathered in my yard, but it’s only become really bad since this construction took place. It’s not like me to consider legal action, but I will unless someone starts listening to me and gets this fixed.”
Ross said he has spent countless hours building trenches and berms on his property to try and fend off extreme amounts of water that accumulate following each heavy rainfall.
The most frustrating aspect is the problems have become much worse since construction was completed earlier this summer, he said.
“The problem is the road level was raised and now slopes even more into my property,” he said. “The road is now four-to-six inches above my sidewalk … rain has to go somewhere and more and more of it is ending up in my yard, which isn’t what should be happening after nine months of construction.
“There is also a crown in the road, which wasn’t there before … the water reaches the crown and starts pouring more water on my property than ever before. I was assured the problem would be corrected following construction … it has only gotten worse, much worse.”
The only way he can reduce water levels following heavy rainfall would be to install a huge sump pump and heavy hose and send huge amounts of water to neighbours who are also suffering from serious flooding problems in the area and he’s not about to do that, said Ross.
The fact pumps aren’t working properly weeks after construction was finished is infuriating because they might have solved a lot of the problems, he said.
“They clicked on Friday night, but clicked off a few minutes later once the rain got heavy,” he said. “The pumps don’t work. I can’t tell you how upset that makes me.”
The fact no public works crews were out trying to help clean up the mess over the weekend is also frustrating, said Ross.
“This is Osoyoos, so, of course, no one would dare be ordered to work on a weekend,” he said sarcastically. “It’s totally out of my character to get upset like this, but I’m just about at the end of my rope.
“The problems have to be fixed, the road has to be graded properly and the pumps have to work like they’re supposed to work.”
Ross said he remains disappointed and angry with the town, the engineers who designed the upgrades to the area and the contractor who actually built it.
“I learned at an early age, probably about four or five, playing in the streets during a rainstorm that water flows downhill, and if you block it, it will simply look for the next lowest point and go there,” he said.
“It’s very sad no one involved in this project remembered those early childhood lessons.
“I’ve never in my 20 years of property ownership seen such a waste of money, time, energy and only to make the situation worse. It’s pathetic.”